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Claiming the Voice of Self Love

Claiming the Voice of Self Love
Well ordered self-love is right and natural - St Thomas Aquinas
Our capacity for self-love is one of the baselines of our existence, determining how well we take care of ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and how we show up in our relationships and interactions with others.  Self love colours our self-expression - both inwardly and outwardly.   We can claim the power of our voices to build a healthy sense of self-love which naturally enhances and enriches our relationships and contribution to the world.

Loving Self Talk
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love - Brene Brown
Our self-talk is the barometer and indicator of our self-love.  Constant self-denigration and negation will show up in self-destructive behaviours such as addictions, dysfunctional relationships or disconnection from our true purpose.  Our life shifts powerfully when we lovingly care for the wounded aspects of ourselves and choose self-talk which supports us to care for ourselves and reach our higher potential. 
In many traditions, we find vocal phrases, mantras and prayers dedicated to guiding us back to a healthy sense of self-love  balanced with our love for others - eg Namaste, Love Thy Neighbour As Thy Self.  Hypnotherapist Marisa Peer identifies 'I am Not Enoughness' as 'the biggest disease affecting humanity' and has dedicated January 5th as #IAmEnough Day, urging people to affirm I am Enough inwardly and outwardly to themselves.  She describes how doing this puts us in a state of balance - the middle of the see-saw - instead of feeling either More or Less Than.   I find the phrase I am that I am very helpful to remind myself that I simply am, without any need for justification or self-aggrandisement, I am simply here breathing just like every other living thing.  This peaceful state is found in the centre of every breath, in the gaps between our thoughts, in the stillness of the heart that just IS.  Practices like yoga, pilates, creative arts, exercise, martial arts, meditation, prayer etc can help bring us back into equilibrium and loving connection with ourselves. 

Honouring Self Value and Values
Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you
leave 'em all over everything you do - Elvis Presley
Many of us have been conditioned to prove ourselves and our value by jumping through social circus hoops.  We are taught to quantify our worth by fickle measuring sticks including our bank balance, body image, status symbols, job titles, qualifications, social media likes etc. To affirm our own inherent value is a radical stand, a refusal to play the game and instead to commit to loving who we are and what we can bring to the world.
Staying connected to our values - that which we hold dear and aspire to live by - keeps us tuned to our self worth.  If you list your core values, you will see the reflection of your qualities - the kindness, love, empathy, trust, creativity, joy you wish to embody in the world.
James Clear in his book Atomic Habits demonstrates that behaviour change comes from a shift in our identity - who we believe ourselves to be. For example someone who identifies as a healthy person will adopt certain habits (eg going to the gym) and drop other habits (eg smoking) which are not in alignment with this sense of themselves.
When we value ourselves we are able to state and meet our needs in a clear healthy way and to respect those of others. Knowing our own values also enables us to make clear steers as we navigate life and where we draw our personal lines.

Truthful Self Love
Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. - Ghandi
Having a strong sense of who we are and declaring it to ourselves and others enables us to stay aligned to our truth.  There are often many cobwebs of social conditioning to dust away which obscure our vision of ourselves.  When we notice repeated unhealthy patterns showing up in our lives it's time to get out  the duster - or in some extreme cases a blow torch! :)  Rather than blaming and shaming ourselves, we can have compassion for our woundedness and lovingly shine a light on what has obscured our clarity.   As the process of soul searching can be challenging, it's important to take support from a mentor, coach, counsellor or loving friends to witness us as we come back to ourselves.  Creative arts can also help us come back into connection with a sense of the truth of who we are at this moment in our journey.  Painting, drawing, singing, dancing, writing, playing - these are all are the voice of self-love in action.  Finding and expressing self-love becomes an adventure - not a destination - a life-long project of learning about ourselves.

Self Love as Service
When you show up for yourself you can show up for the world more completely - Gabi Bernstein
When we commit to ourselves and to living a life anchored in our true values this naturally extends towards others.  Contrary to what many of us were taught, self-love is not selfish - it actually enables us to give, do and be more in the world.  When we top up on self-care - be that healthy sleep, diet, exercise - we give from an overflowing cup.  The truth of ourselves, when voiced and allowed to shine, can uplift, inspire and illuminate the lives of those around us.  We can embody and express our service to the world through joyful, authentic sharing of our gifts, talents, ideas, energy, enthusiasm and kindness.  Aligning with those who share our core values becomes natural.  As we claim our own voice of self-love, we become a stand for self-love in others and in the world.

Wishing you a Self-Loving February!